top of page

The Impressive Case Study of A Child with Regressive Autism- A Functional/Integrative Approach

Developmental regression is an event that occurs when a child loses the previously acquired milestones and start to show autistic behavior. It occurs in 32% of children diagnosed with autism and is associated with the dysfunction of small organelles inside the cells called mitochondria (1). I will show a case report published in clinical journals of a child who developed developmental regression and autism but had fantastic results after using a functional/integrative medicine approach (2).

Case Report

* Three-year-old boy with regression autism. He went from having ten words of language to no words at 18 months of age.

*The child became hyperactive

*The Child had constant diarrhea. This a significant indication of gastrointestinal dysfunction, which is quite high in autism.

*Self-stimulatory behavior. Examples of this behavior can be hand-flapping, spinning, rocking objects, etc.

*Aggressive behavior with a family member

Some of the Interventions/Treatment Approach:

*Limit sugar intake. High refined carbohydrates are associated with inflammation, which is at high levels in autism (3). More fruits, nuts, healthy fats, and vegetables are recommended.

*Limit gluten and milk products. Gluten can alter gut function and make it more porous (leaky gut).

*Additions of omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, and B-vitamins were added. Multiple deficiencies are present in autism. Improvements from these deficiencies are crucial for the well-being of children with autism.

*Anti-fungal treatment (fluconazole) was part of the initial treatment. The organic acid test (OAT) can help in detecting high levels of yeast. High levels of the yeast candida Albicans are associated with inflammatory gut diseases and autism (4). Nutrients like lipoic acid and carnosine were added. These nutrients can benefit the mitochondria function, which is crucial for brain function.

After Treatment Effects (Several Months/years)

*Symptoms improved dramatically

*Behavior therapists were impressed with the improvements in general health and speech.

*Gut function improved. A healthy gut means a healthy brain.

*Communication improved gradually until he was integrated into regular school without any extra assistance.

Take-Home Message:

*Autism is not all in the brain. It is a whole-body disease that affects the brain (5).

*The gut function is a big key for a healthy brain function.

*A Nutrition approach is vital for improvements in autism.

*Replenishment of multiple deficiencies is an essential step for the wellbeing of children on the spectrum.

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.

Only through experience of trial and suffering can the

soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired

and success achieved."

Helen Keller

There is Hope for Autism!

David Rivas, RPh, MSc, CCN

Pharmacist and Clinical Nutritionist


(1): Singh, K., Singh, I. N., Diggins, E., Connors, S. L., Karim, M. A., Lee, D., ... & Frye, R. E. (2020). Developmental regression and mitochondrial function in children with autism. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, 7(5), 683-694.

(2): Gannage, J. (2010). Integrative Autism Treatment: Foretelling Medicine's Future. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, 25(4).

(3): Khakzad, M. R., Javanbakht, M., Shayegan, M. R., Kianoush, S., Omid, F., Hojati, M., & Meshkat, M. (2012). The complementary role of high sensitivity C-reactive protein in the diagnosis and severity assessment of autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 6(3), 1032-1037.

(4): Hughes, H. K., & Ashwood, P. (2018). Anti-Candida albicans IgG antibodies in children with autism spectrum disorders. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9, 627.

(5): Herbert, M. R. (2005). Autism: a brain disorder or a disorder that affects the brain. Clinical Neuropsychiatry, 2(6), 354-379.

12 views0 comments


bottom of page